Brian Jonestown Massacre

Thursday 18th February 2010, the Brian Jonestown Massacre play the iconic Brisbane venue The Zoo. Anton Newcombe, the band's iconic and enigmatic leader shares tonight's vocals with Matt Hollywood. Matt is in Australia for the first time and seems to be loving it (he left the band for 10 years from 1999 - 2009).


The Zoo is at capacity and from the front row it is sweltering. As the band swaggers on stage a few rowdy patrons scream for charismatic tambourine player Joel Gion and guitar player Frankie "Teardrop" Emerson as they make their way to the microphones.


With a quiver of vintage Ibanez, Gibson, and Vox guitars in tow, the band look and sound in the finest form.


So how do you explain a BJM gig to someone who wasn't there? The songs come alive in real life, enveloping the listeners like warm ear blankets – if only there were such a thing. Songs build up from seemingly simple two chord repetitions into an orchestra of rock guitars and keyboards, and then back again.


The set list covers old classics tonight; paying particular attention to numbers from Matt Hollywood's time in the band and avoiding new material from the current release Who Killed Sergeant Pepper? The crowd love it and the band are in top shape, even playing an uncharacteristic encore.


There are a few dickheads in the audience tonight – probably hoping to impress their friends by telling them they saw "that crazy drug guy from the Dandy Warhols' movie DiG!", but most of us are there to see and hear the music from a man (and band) that have thoroughly immersed themselves in their music, art, lifestyles and indulgence for 20 years. This is their life's work, and it amounts to something special.


There are no on-stage antics, bust-ups or fighting tonight, just a few simple words between songs and occasional smiles amongst band-mates. The man himself (Anton) proclaims he is sober on this tour, and musically it shows. The band is tight, focused and very well rehearsed. Tragically for those wanting to take home a tale of rock'n'roll chaos the band don't deliver, but for those there to hear a back catalogue of some of the finest neo-psychedelic rock in existence they deliver in droves.

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